To be able to benefit fully from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the country needs to strengthen areas where it has comparative advantage, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has advocated.
The AfCFTA is projected to lead to an increase in intra-Africa trade from the current 15 percent to 52 percent by 2020. But the AGI is of the view that the country must focus more on areas where it has comparative advantage, if it is to benefit fully from this expected increase in trade among African countries.
It said because the country cannot be ‘a Jack of all trades’, it believes strategically placed sectors such as salt production, aluminium chain, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, power, among others where the country holds an upper hand over its continental peers, should be deliberately promoted in order to efficient and competitiveness.
AGI President, Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi said this at the Ghana Industrial Summit and Expo 2019 in Accra, and noted that areas of comparative advantage must be “our immediate focus”.
“Competitiveness for our economy has become an urgent need. For this reason, government must quicken its pace of industrial transformation through dedicated policies and incentives to bolster growth of our economy,” he said, adding that “these are crucial in strengthening local industry”.
The three-day summit running from 10th to 12th September is on the theme ‘Strengthening Ghanaian industries for competitiveness’. It features various activities including, exhibitions, trade and investments fora, and business matchmaking among others.
While urging government to build local industry to a level where it can compete with the best on the continent, Dr. Adu Gyamfi said improvement in macro-economic fundamentals, trade facilitation and infrastructure are equally important.
He said science and technology are also critical drivers for competitiveness and accelerated industrial growth, but added that the country is yet to fully integrate them.
Explaining further, he said: “Admittedly, we have not leveraged technology and the applied sciences sufficiently to enhance our competitiveness as a country.
“It is therefore important that we fully integrate these into our industrial processes. The standards and expectations of industry today are being driven by the competition we face from the global economy. Therefore, we need to rethink how we do business daily to align with emerging trends in technology, in order to become relevant to the global economy.”